Veterans are some of the country’s most valued and respected citizens. Most veterans with disabilities are cared for by the government through Veteran Affairs (VA), who provides disability benefits in proportion to the veteran’s disorder. However, some veterans with severe disabilities still find trouble financially making it day-to-day, even with their VA benefits.
If you are a veteran coping with a serious disability, then you may qualify for Social Security benefits in addition to your VA benefits. Social Security benefits are available for people who are unable to work for at least 12 months.
The first step when applying for Social Security disability insurance (or SSDI) is looking at the SSA’s medical requirements for qualifying. The requirements for SSDI differ slightly from VA benefits, so it is important to know the difference.
In order to qualify for SSDI, an applicant must be considered “totally and permanently disabled”. This refers to any person whose disability is a) severe enough to affect their daily life and work ability, and b) expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. This is different than VA benefits as it does not allow partial disabilities to qualify.
To determine if you qualify here, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will compare your diagnosis to its corresponding listing in the “Blue Book.” This book lists all SSA-recognized disabilities as well as the symptoms that must be present in order to qualify. To get an idea of your requirements before you apply, you can look up your disorder in the Blue Book on your own.
For example, if you are applying for benefits for an amputated limb, you would refer to Section 1.00 of the Blue Book covering the “Musculoskeletal System”. To qualify here, you would need an amputation (or amputations) involving either both hands, one or both legs, one hand and one leg, or an amputation up to the hip. The majority of disorders require a variety of evidence as support, such as tests, scans, therapy notes, physician assessments, or testimonies. In general, the more evidence you provide, the more likely you are to receive benefits.
One advantage of applying for SSDI with VA benefits is that your VA disability rating may improve your eligibility. Any veteran with a rating of 70% or higher shows the SSA that the government has already ruled their disorder(s) as severely disabling, increasing the chance of benefits. In addition, all military service members who became disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001 receive an expedited claims process to help benefits begin as soon as possible.
Finally, your claim will be expedited if your disability rating is 100% P&T. It’s almost certain that you will medically qualify for SSDI benefits.
Aside from medical requirements, the SSA also needs an applicant’s work history and income history. This ensures that you have contributed enough money in taxes to receive monthly benefits from the government. These contributions are measures using “credits”, which can be earned up to four times per year. A person must earn up to $5,200 in taxable income per year to earn the maximum 4 annual credits in 2017. Depending on your age, more credits are required to qualify. For instance, a 46-year old would require 24 credits (6 full years of work) to qualify, while a 58-year-old would require 36 credits (9 years of work).
Luckily, most veterans have no problem qualifying technically for SSDI. This is because the majority of income earned from being in the U.S. military is taxable, which typically gives veterans enough credits to qualify here. However, if you do not possess enough credits for SSDI, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) instead. This program awards benefits based on an applicant’s current income, allowing low-income or unemployed veterans to still be eligible for support. An applicant must technically make under $735/month in order to qualify for SSI, but some make even more than this. In some cases, certain forms of unearned income, such as SNAP benefits or army benefits, do not count towards this SSI income limit, making it even easier for veterans to technically qualify.
Starting the Application
Before applying, be sure to compile all necessary documents for the application, including:
- Proof of US citizenship (typically a birth certificate)
- Form DD 214 (if you were discharged from military service)
- Income and work history documentation
- Proof of workers’ compensation or military pay
- Any military or civilian medical records you possess (or receive after updated testing)
When you are ready, the SSDI application can be completed on the SSA’s website. This website also includes helpful tips and FAQs specifically for veteran applicants, should you have any questions. SSI applications can be filled out in-person by making an appointment with your local Social Security office. You can do so by calling the SSA toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.
[The Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help]
AGENT ORANGE – A Toxic Legacy
By Michelle Bearden
The Vietnam War officially ended April 30, 1975, but its aftermath still lingers today in a war that thousands of surviving veterans still battle: The conflict over Agent Orange.
In this special report, journalist Michelle Bearden examines how exposure to this herbicide and defoliant chemical – used by the U.S. military in Vietnam to clear jungles and destroy crops – has led to debilitating health conditions to thousands of troops who served in country.
And its brutal reach doesn’t end there. Many children of those veterans are suffering from inexplicable medical issues as well. Mounting evidence supports that this correlation is more than just a theory.
What are the conditions recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that ensure a veteran will be compensated for Agent Orange exposure? And what rights do the offspring of affected veterans have if they are afflicted by a suspicious illness?
“Agent Orange: A Toxic Legacy” tells this story through the eyes of afflicted veterans and how they deal with an enemy that followed them home from the battlefield.
Michelle Bearden is a multimedia journalist and public speaker with extensive experience in print and broadcast media. Her many awards include first-place honors for column writing from the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and beat reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists. She is also a two-time winner of the Supple Religion Reporter of the Year from the national Religion Newswriters Association. She’s a graduate of Central Michigan University, which inducted her in the school’s Journalism Hall of Fame in 2008 for her pioneer work in media convergence and investigative religion reporting.
Click on the link below for the full story:
Flu Season is here! Veterans protect yourselves and get a NO COST flu shot!
The cold and flu season is upon us and the Department of Veterans Affairs has once again teamed up with Walgreens Pharmacies nationwide to allow all veterans who are currently enrolled in the VA healthcare system to be able walk into any of the over 8000 Walgreens nationally (and the Duane Reade pharmacies in the New York metropolitan area) to receive a vaccination at no cost. Vaccinations will be available through March 31, 2018.
Veterans wishing to receive the no cost vaccination simply need to present a Veterans Identification Card and a photo ID, at any participating Walgreens to receive the vaccination. The Group ID is: VAFLU
In addition, after the Walgreens pharmacist administers the vaccine Walgreens will transmit that information securely to VA where it becomes part of the patient’s electronic medical record.
VA is committed to keeping Veteran patients healthy, and during this flu season, vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of flu. No matter where you live, visit your local VA clinic or Walgreens to get a no cost flu shot.
Thank you, Inspector General Lyons, for bringing this to our attention.
Imagine losing $1,000 a month (the “average” disability check), $12,000 a year and $60,000 over a 5-year period ($120,000.00 if you push it to 10 years). That’s what’s happening to many of our Veterans because they don’t take the time to do the paperwork to file their claims or they don’t follow through to the end of the process. They may even think they are not eligible for disability. That’s what NABVETS is here for and our service is FREE.
Brothers and Sisters, go to your meetings to find out more about disability inquiries; and, take a friend. Support your chapters with your monthly (and annual) membership dues and attendance. Just as you were helped because your chapter had the money to assist you, help your chapter stay strong to assist other Veterans. We are stronger together, come join us. Be part of making the NABVETS a better and stronger organization. Let’s change the world starting with us.
Commander (Mr.) Connie McLauchlin
NABVETS Chapter #0014, Fayetteville, NC
Introducing Mike Moses, NABVETS Commander Chapter #0096 of Southern Maryland and his commitment to the veteran community and recent accomplishments representing the National Association for Black Veterans, Inc. (NABVETS) and his Chapter.
Throughout the Month of June 2017, he has received several Community Awards pertaining to his veteran activities and support as a NABVETS Chapter Commander. The Plaque(s) state, “You are presented these awards “in grateful appreciation and support on behalf of the veteran community for strengthening the ties between the veterans and public,”” we present to you this community gratitude from the list of public sponsors:
· Chairman Gilbert Bowing, Democratic Central Committee of Charles County.
· Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., President of the Senate
· Senator Mack. Middleton, State of Maryland
· Congressman Steny H. Hoyer, Democratic Whip, House of Representatives
· Maryland Delegate Sally Jameson
· DAV State Commander, John Patterson, Department of Maryland
In addition, during his tenure with the Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriots Park, he created a short film advertisement about the Museum, which was entered in the College of Southern Maryland’s Film Festival Competition where he placed in the Amateur First Place Category. The film screening will play during the month of July at local Black Box Theaters in Indian Head, Maryland for a special Mini-fest.
Furthermore, as a NABVETS Chapter Commander, Mike was appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan as World War I Commissioner until 2018. Under this umbrella he is in the process of creating, filming, and producing four (4) documentaries:
· Negro Participation During WWI and the Great Migration.
· Negro Baseball Team Southern Maryland.
· Triple Nickels Paratroopers/Jumpers (555), Sept. 2017 Dedication.
· War 1812 Negro Freedom and the Defeat of Napoleon.
Moreover, every Monday from 9AM to 12 Noon he meets with and interviews 20+ veterans at the Andrews Air Force Vet Center to educate, support and assist veterans pertaining to claims (DBQ, Nexus Letter & E-Benefits Fact Sheets) coupled with explaining the various types of support resources that are available for ALL veterans. Commander Mike Moses efforts in support of veterans expands 60+ volunteer hour’s monthly.
In conclusion, he is dedicated to the veteran population throughout and beyond Maryland’s boundaries. As Commander of NABVETS Chapter #0096, Mike Moses is a strong advocate for NABVETS and looks to excel in his efforts to support ALL the thousands of veterans throughout the three counties under the umbrella of his Chapter. With all that Mike does, he is ensuring that NABVETS is and always will be a powerful force present and future.
Individual Unemployment (IU) Has Been Saved
Master Chief Othan “Nate” Mondy, NABVETS Region I Commander
It is my most humble responsibility to inform you that Master Chief Othan “Nate” Mondy, our Region I Commander, NABVETS, Inc., passed quietly on Monday, May 29, 2017.
Viewing of Nate will be on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 1600 – 1900 hours (4 – 7 PM), at the San Diego Funeral Service, 6334 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92115.
On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, beginning at 10:00 AM the final viewing of Master Chief Othan “Nate” Mondy, USN (Ret.), NABVETS, Inc., Region I Commander will commence prior to Formal Funeral Service beginning at 11:00 AM at the Linda Vista Second Baptist Church, 2706 Korink Ave, San Diego, CA 92111.
Service starts at 1330 hours (1:30 PM) at MIRAMAR NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN DIEGO, CA, Telephone: (858) 658-7360.
The Repass for Master Chief Mondy will be held at the Tubman Chavez Center, commencing at 1400 – 1700 hours (2 – 5 PM), 415 Euclid Ave, San Diego, CA 92114, including the military salutation, civilian and most astounding veterans advocacy in recognition of esprit de corps.
Bobby L. Myles, Funeral Arranger – If you have any questions, or need additional information or help, feel free to email him at email@example.com or call him any time @ 619 280 0101. Proudly serving those who served and their families.
“There is Power in Unity”
Can we “adopt” these rules in our everyday lives overseeing NABVETS in whatever position we may have?
The Sergeant Major Of The Army’s Top Ten Rules For Noncommissioned Officers
June 2, 2017 by Scott Faith – Posted in The Havoc Journal
Sergeant Major of the Army Dailey offered some powerful guidance for the “backbone of the Army,” the noncommissioned officers’ corps. In case you missed it the first time we posted it, here it is:
No. 1. Yelling doesn’t make you skinny. PT does.
If you’re not out there saluting the flag every morning at 6:30, you can automatically assume your soldiers are not. Soldiers don’t care if you’re in first place. They just want to see you out there. This is a team sport.
PT might not be the most important thing you do that day, but it is the most important thing you do every day in the United States Army. The bottom line is, wars are won between 6:30 [am] and 9 [am].
No. 2. Think about what you’re going to say before you say it.
I’ve never regretted taking the distinct opportunity to keep my mouth shut.
You’re the sergeant major. People are going to listen to you.
By all means, if you have something important or something informative to add to the discussion, then say it. But don’t just talk so people can hear you. For goodness sake, you’re embarrassing the rest of us. Sit down and listen. Sometimes you might just learn something.
No. 3. If you find yourself having to remind everyone all of the time that you’re the sergeant major and you’re in charge, you’re probably not.
That one’s pretty self-explanatory.
No. 4. You have to work very hard at being more informed and less emotional.
Sergeants major, I’ll put it in simple terms: Nobody likes a dumb loudmouth. They don’t.
Take the time to do the research. Learn how to be brief. Listen to people, and give everyone the time of day. Everyone makes mistakes, even sergeants major, and you will make less of them if you have time to be more informed.
No. 5. If you can’t have fun every day, then you need to go home.
You are the morale officer. You don’t have to be everyone’s friend, but you do have to be positive all the time. The sergeant major is the one everyone looks to when it’s cold, when it’s hot, when it’s raining, or things are just going south. Your job is to keep the unit together. That’s why you’re there. The first place they will look when things go bad is you, and they will watch your reaction.
No. 6. Don’t be the feared leader. It doesn’t work.
If soldiers run the other way when you show up, that’s absolutely not cool.
Most leaders who yell all the time, they’re in fact hiding behind their inability to effectively lead.
Soldiers and leaders should be seeking you, looking for your guidance, asking you to be their mentors on their Army career track, not posting jokes about you on the ‘Dufflebag blog’. That’s not cool. Funny, but it’s not cool.
No. 7. Don’t do anything — and I mean anything — negative over email.
You have to call them. Go see them in person. Email’s just a tool. It’s not a substitute for leadership. It’s also permanent.
You’ve all heard it. Once you hit ‘send,’ it’s official, and you can never bring it back. Automatically assume that whatever you write on email will be on the cover of the Army Times and all over Facebook by the end of the week. Trust me, I know this personally.
No. 8. It’s OK to be nervous. All of us are.
This happens to be my favorite. It came from my mother. My mom always used to tell me that if you’re not nervous on the first day of school, then you’re either not telling the truth, you either don’t care, or you’re just plain stupid. [Being nervous] makes you try harder. That’s what makes you care more. Once that feeling is gone, once you feel like you have everything figured out, it’s time to go home, because the care stops. Don’t do this alone. You need a battle buddy. You need someone you can call, a mentor you can confide in. Don’t make the same mistakes someone else has made. Those are the dumb mistakes. Don’t do this alone.
No. 9. If your own justification for being an expert in everything you do is your 28 years of military experience, then it’s time to fill out your 4187 [form requesting personnel action] and end your military experience.
Not everything gets better with age, sergeants major. You have to work at it every day. Remember, you are the walking textbook. You are the information portal. Take the time to keep yourself relevant.
No. 10. Never forget that you’re just a soldier.
That’s all you are. No better than any other, but just one of them.
You may get paid a little more, but when the time comes, your job is to treat them all fair, take care of them as if they were your own children, and expect no more from them of that of which you expect from yourself.
VA PRESS RELEASE Washington –
Elimination of Net Worth Makes More Veterans Eligible for Health Care
~~ The Department of Veterans Affairs is updating the way it determines eligibility for VA health care, a change that will result in more Veterans having access to the health care benefits they’ve earned and deserve.
Effective 2015, VA eliminated the use of net worth as a determining factor for both health care programs and co-payment responsibilities. This change makes VA health care benefits more accessible Read more
NABVETS FIGHTING FOR BLACK VETERANS IN AMERICA’S MOST SEGREGATED COMMUNITIES
Some people wonder why the “Nabvets- National Association for Black Veterans” was created in Milwaukee Wisconsin back in 1969. Well, it turns out that Milwaukee is one of America’s most segregated cities – it was then and it is now. And the consequences of Milwaukee’s form of Apartheid is seen in Wisconsin’s high incarceration of Black men (the highest percentage in the country), the joblessness of Black men (leads the country), and infant mortality (leads the country and is comparable to sub-Sahara African). To fight back, Black Veterans united under the tent of NABVETS. Today, 108 Chapters later, NABVETS is going strong. And, no matter the racial hotbed – Milwaukee, Benton Harbor, Cleveland, Little Rock….NABVETS continues to make an impact in cities across America.